5 Questions with Julian and Preston Van Winkle of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery

We caught up with bourbon makers at the 2015 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Julian and Preston Van Winkle.

The Daily Meal: What are you most excited about this year?

Julian Van Winkle: Going to Michigan after Big Apple BBQ for three weeks. During that time, the whole family comes along (Julian has triplet daughters and one son, and some grandkids).

What is your best piece of advice?

JVW: Whatever you produce, make it well and don’t make a lot of it. (Words on a sign on the office wall; his grandfather Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr.’s motto).

Who is the beverage professional you most admire?

JVW: Dale DeGroff — he was doing high-end cocktails before they were cool.

What do you think about all of this media attention you have received with the heist?

Preston Van Winkle: It’s tough, and this is coming from someone who often answers the phone. Don’t get me wrong, we deeply appreciate the support and attention, but when the product is not available, people don’t understand that we cannot just go out and quickly produce more of it. This just angers people and we do not want to do that. So it is a hard predicament. We have turned away some big national media outlets because we don’t want to make people even more upset.

If you were a float in a parade, what you would be?


PVW: A bourbon barrel, floating in a smaller bourbon barrel, drinking bourbon on the rocks.